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Why Is It Better to Use Drywall Instead of Plywood?

Several different materials can be used for walls and ceilings in homes, including paneling and plaster. However, most surfaces are either plywood or drywall, with the latter being the top choice because of its numerous advantages. Drywall – aka gypsum board, plasterboard, wallboard or sheetrock – consists of gypsum sandwiched between two layers of thick paper. Plywood comprises several sheets of thin wood bonded together.


Pros & Cons of Drywall vs Plywood

Drawbacks of plywood compared with drywall include:

  • Higher cost.
  • More difficult to install.
  • Harder to repair.

Other advantages of drywall vs plywood include:

  • Greater fire and water resistance.
  • Better sound dampening properties.
  • More versatility.


Drywall vs Plywood Costs

While less durable than plywood, drywall is more affordable to install and less costly to repair. Most wooden building materials are expensive, and plywood is no exception, although cheaper than regular wood. Plywood is far more expensive than drywall, especially cabinet grade hardwood plywood. Installing drywall is also less time consuming than using plywood, which keeps down labor costs – the main consideration in home renovations.

You may be able find cheaper plywood but remember you get what you pay for and cheaper materials tend to be inferior – and cheap plywood is still more costly than drywall.


Repairing Drywall

Less robust than plywood, drywall can be prone to damage from accidental knocks – while moving furniture, for example. On the other hand, drywall is easier to repair than plywood. A hole in drywall can simply be patched and sanded, provided it’s not too big. Damage to plywood panels invariably involves repairing the whole section to get the right look. It’s also generally easier to find a drywall repair contractor than a plywood specialist, because drywall is more universally used.



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Versatility Drywall

Drywall gives you a highly versatile option that can be customized to match your design style preferences and your living space.

For instance, lightweight, thin drywall can create a subtle partition in a room, while more substantial drywalling can provide a clear distinction between spaces.

Drywall gives you the perfect, smooth surface when finished by professionals, and lends it itself to multiple applications, such as:

  • Painting
  • Texturing
  • Papering
  • Tiling

This is why drywall can be found throughout many homes, in:

  • Garages
  • Basements
  • Living rooms.
  • Dining areas.
  • Kitchens
  • Bedrooms

Drywall is also ideal for use on curved surfaces such as archways.


Safety Considerations of Drywall vs Plywood

Where a fire-rated wall is desired – or required by building codes – plywood isn’t a suitable option, but drywall can provide an additional safety measure in the event of fire. Drywall doesn’t ignite as easily as plywood and won’t burn as quickly – keeping your family and your property much safer. Drywall is fire resistant because of the high level of crystalized water in its composition.


Acoustic Advantages of Drywall

As well as water crystals, drywall is made with dried gypsum mineral, which makes it very sound resistant. Drywall is also denser with more mass than plywood, which dampens sound more effectively. Plywood is obviously made of wood, which conducts sound, allowing noise to pass freely from one room to the next.


Getting a Flawless Finish

It’s far easier to get a smooth finish with drywall. Plywood is highly absorbent, and the initial coat of varnish or paint just acts as a sealant as it’s soaked up by the wood. The paper coating of drywall is more moisture resistant, so the first coat becomes part of the final finish as well as a sealant.

Finishing plywood entails sanding the whole surface while the only sanding needed with drywall is to smooth the drywall mud used to strengthen joints.




How Drywall has stood the test of time

Developed as an affordable alternative to plaster and lath surfaces, Drywall has been the standard finish for ceilings and walls in U.S. houses for more than 40 years, Many homeowners will continue to choose drywall for home remodeling on the grounds that its advantages – affordability, versatility, sound resistance, fire safety, and ease of repair – outweigh the fact that plywood is stronger.

The logic is simple: why opt for a more expensive material with a less than perfect finish?


Getting Drywall Installation right first time

If you decide drywall is the better option for your home remodeling, bear in mind there’s a hidden downside to drywall – its relative ease of installation, which results in many misguided DIY attempts.

While you may be able to do a minor drywall repair like patching a small hole, installing drywall from scratch is another matter entirely. Drywall is heavier than plywood and amateurs often struggle to handle it, especially if working alone.

It’s important to get drywall installation right first time – early mistakes can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why most homeowners turn to drywall installation professionals with the skills, experience and resources to make the most of the advantages of drywall by creating perfect walls and ceilings.

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What’s the Best Drywall to Use in Bathrooms?

Drywall provides a good option for bathrooms but not the type you probably have in the rest of your home.

Your bathroom is the most humid room in the house, so the best drywall for bathrooms is moisture-resistant. These types of drywall are often named for the color of their front surface.

So, we get:

  • Green board drywall
  • Blue board drywall.
  • Purple drywall.

Green Board Drywall

Green board was introduced in the 1960s, with a thicker coating than regular drywall and protected by wax for water resistance.

Green board drywall is also known simply as green drywall or as MMR board, standing for mold, mildew and moisture resistance. The surfaces of green board and the central gypsum composition are specially designed to resist moisture.

Green board is made from recycled materials, which makes it a popular eco-friendly choice, and it provides a more affordable surface than cement board for areas of a bathroom that are subject to damp but don’t get saturated.

Blue Board

Blue board drywall is treated to achieve strong adhesion to the special plaster that’s formulated for it, and is highly resistant to mold and water. This is why you’ll find it in many bathrooms and other areas with a lot of moisture

Blue board doesn’t require several coats of joint compound to achieve a smooth surface – just tape and plaster on the seams followed by a further thin layer of plaster.

Blue board – aka plaster baseboard – is also more durable than regular drywall in withstanding accidental knocks and for noise reduction.

Purple Drywall

Purple drywall is used in bathrooms and other areas prone to mildew, moisture and mold. The moisture-resistant core of purple drywall is sandwiched between recycled material that’s mold- resistant.

This type of drywall gets its name from the PURPLE brand family of drywall and cement board products made by National Gypsum. It’s often used in bathrooms around basins, toilets and vanities and as a tile backer for splashbacks and shower ceilings.


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Cement Board for Bathrooms

For areas subjected to constant exposure to water – such as tub and shower splashback areas – a waterproof substrate is recommended to ensure tiling stays intact. Cement tile backing board – also known as a cementitious backer unit (CBU) – comprises aggregated cement formed into sheets of varying thickness with fiberglass mesh surfaces.

Unlike plywood and drywall, cement board contains no organic matter, which makes it highly resistant to rot, mold, shrinkage and decomposition. Cement board brands like PermaBase are more expensive than products like green board and need a moisture barrier behind them to make them truly waterproof, which takes more time to install.

Other major brands of cement board include:

  • WonderBoard – made by Custom Building Products with a high level of flexibility ideal for curved surfaces.
  • Durock – made by USG.
  • HardieBacker – made by James Hardie Industries.


What is Mold-Resistant Drywall?

Mold spores need a food source as well as moisture and oxygen. While the central gypsum composition of all drywall is non-organic and naturally mold-resistant, the paper surfaces of standard drywall can provide nourishment for mold.

Preventing mold growth on drywall can be achieved by two techniques:

  • Using a non-organic material like fiberglass mesh instead of paper – so mold has no food source.
  • Denying mold spores moisture and air – with thicker paper treated with a waxy substance.


Mold-Resistant Drywall Installation

Installing mold-resistant drywall for bathrooms follows the same process as regular drywall installation.

Panels are screwed or nailed to the framing, and the joints covered with drywall tape and drywall mud, which is lightly sanded between coats. The finished surface can be tiled or primed and painted with products designed for mildew and mold resistance.

The best drywall for bathrooms combines mold resistance with moisture resistance, and top brands include:

  • Mold Tough – from USG.
  • Gold Bond XP – made by National Gypsum Company.
  • M-Bloc – from American Gypsum.
  • ToughRock – made by Georgia Pacific.

While the latest mold-resistant drywall is also moisture-resistant, it’s not waterproof and won’t prevent mold in the event of flooding – and the manufacturers don’t claim otherwise. In basically dry areas, the extra cost of mold-resistant drywall may not be worth the extra cost but in bathrooms it’s crucial.


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Why you need Mold-Resistant Drywal for your Bathroom?

Using the best drywall for bathrooms significantly reduces the health hazard posed by the formation of toxic mold. Bathrooms are particularly susceptible to mold caused by excess moisture and condensation build-up. Mold can produce allergens and toxic substances that affect your body’s immune system or result in respiratory problems such as asthma, and it can be especially dangerous for young children and older people. Moisture-resistant bathroom drywall will help to avoid growth of mold and other harmful bacteria.


Mold-Resistant Drywall Costs

Mold-resistant drywall that also includes moisture-resistance is about 50 per cent more expensive than regular drywall. However, it can potentially add value to your home – mold-resistant drywall is regarded by real estate professionals as a selling feature. As with other kinds of drywall, mold-resistant drywall provides a durable surface that’s easy to maintain.


Drywall Repair: Do It Yourself or Hire a Contractor?

If your home has drywall walls or ceilings, it’s likely they’ll need repairing at some point. Drywall is a popular construction material because it holds many advantages over systems like lath and plaster. However, although drywall is more stable than plaster it’s also thinner and can sustain damage for a variety of reasons. So, do you carry out a drywall repair yourself or is it better to call in a drywall professional?

Key questions to ask yourself in making this important decision include:

  • Do you regard your home as an investment?
  • Are you sure of your DIY capabilities?
  • How much time can you spare for drywall repair work?
  • Can you find a reliable, affordable drywall contractor?

Other factors that may influence your decision include the type and extent of damage to your drywall. Weighing up these considerations can be a big help when choosing between DIY drywall repair or hiring a drywall contractor, so we’ll look at them in a little more detail.

Protecting Your Investment in Your Home

Owning your home is a huge investment for most people. If you want to safeguard that outlay, you need to think about the resale value of your property when you’re considering works like drywall repairs.

Hiring a drywall repair specialist will ensure the job is carried out to professional standards, giving you long-lasting walls and ceilings that will appeal to potential homebuyers – holding or potentially increasing the value of your house.

If you’re sure your DIY capabilities can produce a similar result, you may decide it’s better to do the job yourself. Just make sure you’re not over-estimating your handyman skills – some drywall repairs entail specialist techniques that can take years to master.

What Type of Drywall Repair Do You Need?

While you may feel confident in tackling minor drywall damage like a tiny hole, more extensive DIY drywall repairs can spell disaster for misguided amateurs.

For instance, if you need to replace a drywall sheet, you’re going to have to know a lot about techniques like drywall mudding and drywall taping.

And for any drywall repair, you need to be proficient in drywall sanding and drywall finishing.

If in doubt about going it alone with a drywall repair, it’s probably better to leave it to the professionals, particularly with bigger jobs.




Are You Really Up to the Job?

Whatever the size of the drywall repair you need, it pays to bear in mind that some people seem to have a natural affinity and aptitude for DIY work, while for others calamity awaits every time they pick up a screwdriver.

Most people fall somewhere in the middle of this DIY spectrum. While having basic construction knowledge is helpful, remember that drywall repairs – especially mudding and taping – require a lot of experience to do the job right.

Drywall repair specialists are often called in to sort out problems caused by botched DIY drywall repairs – resulting in greater costs than getting the job done properly first time.

How Much Free Time Do You Have?

Depending on the size of the job, repairing drywall can be extremely time-consuming for amateurs who have to figure out each stage of the process and work largely by trial and error.

This can be a big problem in busy households, particularly if you have kids that already take up most of your free time.

On top of that, you may have a demanding job with long hours, which often leaves you feeling exhausted at the end of the workday and needing to recharge your batteries with a relaxing weekend.

If you have the free time to spare, you still need to consider the effect on your family of the general mess and inconvenience of a prolonged drywall repair that may stretch over several weekends.

Finding a Drywall Repair Service You Can Trust and Afford

If you decide to hire a professional, you’ll want to find drywall repair services that are both affordable and trustworthy, so look for a contractor with plenty of experience who:

  • Uses quality drywall repair materials and specialist tools.
  • Employs expert drywall repair technicians.

The best drywall repair contractors will also be able to:

  • Keep drywall repair costs to a minimum by having the expertise to work quickly and efficiently.
  • Demonstrate a proven track record in reliability and customer commitment.




Why Professional Drywall Repair Can Be Cost-Effective

Cost is a major factor for most homeowners when deciding whether to have a go at drywall repairs themselves or bring in a pro.

DIY may at first seem a great way to save a few dollars, but it may not be as cost-effective as you think.

You need to take into account considerations such as the cost of buying or hiring specialist equipment, with the possibility of still having to hire a pro later if the job goes wrong.

Drywall Repair Contractor Pricing

Professional drywall repair pricing varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Complexity of the job.
  • Size of the area needing repair.

Drywall repair costs can also be influenced by where you live. If you’re in an area with a lot of drywall contractors, they may offer more competitive prices. Get a few quotes but be wary of unrealistically low bids that may indicate a tendency to cut costs through cheap labor and inferior materials.

Many homeowners find the cost of hiring a drywall repair contractor is well worth it, not least for peace of mind that the job will be done to the highest standards of craftmanship with a professional finish. If you live in Texas and are considering the pros and cons of DIY drywall repair vs. hiring a professional, our drywall repair company can tell you precisely how much your particular drywall repair job will cost.